Thanks for everything

Thanks, Calvin.

Thanks, Calvin.

Thanks for the giving Arts DEVO’s seasonal thankfulness is coming a little early this year due in no small part to the fact that some mysterious angel—nay, some god!—left a cardboard box loaded with manna on the picnic table in my yard. Mrs. DEVO says she has no idea how the package found its way to the compound, and so far no organization has claimed responsibility. Regardless, I am extremely grateful and confused and ridiculously giddy with anticipation at partaking in its deliciousness. I am also feeling I shouldn’t reveal the exact nature of the box’s contents just yet, other than to say that I will be needing the assistance of some of my BFFFs (and the secret donor?) to properly spend my newfound riches. You will be notified.

Thank you, indie rock I really am in a thankful mood, and it’s not just on account of the box. Calvin Johnson will be at RayRay Gallery this Saturday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m., adding his bone-rattling bass voice to a stacked bill that includes Chico’s favorite daughter Barbara Manning, Vancouver, B.C.’s Katie & the Lichen and local indie troubadour Fera. I don’t know if I’m comfortable describing anyone as a hero to me, but Johnson is definitely one of the most influential figures in my life. His work as the founder of the fiercely independent label K Records and as leader of ’80s/early ’90s primitive pop-punk trio Beat Happening were powerful examples of a DIY ethos that was completely new to me. It was a transformative time in my life that set me off on two decades of playing in bands and putting on shows (and now writing about others doing the same), and I just wanted to say, “Thanks.”

Kerry and David Eldridge in an empty Birdhouse.

The Birdhouse needs your love Last year, Kerry and David Eldridge were forced to cease hosting concerts in their Forest Ranch home—aka The Birdhouse—due to zoning issues that came to light after a neighbor complained about traffic on the private road on the days of the shows. In the year since, the Eldridges have been busy working with Butte County planning commissioners to come up with a new ordinance to help restore the very popular, intimate house-concert series, and at the Dec. 6 meeting, county supervisors will be reviewing the new language.

“It’s a new ordinance to allow for house concerts in Butte County,” said Kerry Eldridge. The ordinance will define a threshold for house concerts based on number of participants and frequency of events. Basically, its intent is to recognize that people have a basic right to entertain guests in their homes. In addition to showing up to the meeting, you can help the cause by writing letters of support to Maureen Kirk and her fellow supes (visit for supervisor contact info). Here’s a portion of the email Kerry sent out seeking support:

David and I want to live in harmony with our neighbors. Our intention is to have five or less concerts a year, with 50 or less guests, during the rainy season, in order to minimize the impact and dust problems with cars on the road. We are in the process of developing more parking on our own property. More importantly, we feel that the concerts provide an extremely positive, wholesome experience for touring folk and Americana musicians and for our friends and our community. In addition, this is not only about the Birdhouse. This ordinance will impact anyone wanting to hold house concerts in Butte County.